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Thursday, December 9, 2010


I keep checking Banner about every 20 seconds to see if more students have signed up for Nature in Lit. So far, five students; my hunch is that there will need to be at least 15 in order for it to run. I don't know if I said, but I also wrangled Native American Lit: it was going begging for an instructor, and I'm one of the few qualified to teach it (well, sort of). Very cool--except it's also in danger of not running. So far, seven students. And I keep putting up flyers that keep getting taken down--by whom or why, I don't know. I don't really have time to do a full-campus papering with them (much as I'd like to); maybe next week I'll just do it even without having the time (triage: make myself nuts later in order to put the time into that). I'm almost to the point of tackling students at random on campus and forcing them to sign up (though how I'd force them is a rather difficult issue). Maybe I should consider blatant bribery instead, or lies. ("I assign no writing, and I don't hold you accountable for any of the reading. You can pretty much just sit there, bullshit your way through the semester, and still get a B.") OK, maybe not. But I'll be on tenterhooks until I know for sure that at least one of them is going to run, preferably both.

I'm focusing on next semester because I'm really done teaching for this semester; it's now all on the students. I'll barely even see the students from the short-story class: next week I'll see them when they drop off their papers and pick up the stuff I have now; then I'll see them on the 20th for a quick end-of-semester wrap up and to distribute the sheets that explain their final grades. I'll see more of the 101 students: they have presentations next week and will be turning in end-of-semester self-evaluations and final papers. Two of the three sections I'll see on the 20th and 21st to do the end-of-semester wrap up and distributed grade sheets. The last section of the week, since there are so few students left, I realized we could do all their presentations on one day, do the wrap-up conversation on Thursday next week--so on the 21st, instead of meeting with them, I'll be here in my office, finishing up paperwork. They can pick up their final grade sheets if they want, but they don't have to. I also told all the 101 students that if they want their final papers back, they have to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope--and I made very clear what that means. I bet one or two will still screw it up, but most won't bother to ask for comments, especially since they have to go through a rather complex procedure to get the comments back. It will be interesting to see how many requests I get--and from whom.

I did chip away at marking revisions from the short story class. Didn't make an enormous amount of progress, but some. More important, I got the reader for next semester's 102s pulled together and taken to the copy shop. That is a huge weight off. I'm still frantic as hell, and no doubt will continue to feel breathless and jittery until I'm at the airport on the morning of the 22nd, but I can feel things gradually beginning to move off my chest, as it were. And it will be beyond worthwhile to go through twelve days of mania in order to get on the plane with absolutely zero school responsibilities until my return in January. The last two years I've taken stuff with me to finish up over the break, and it's hell. This year, instead, I'll sleep, read trashy novels, and stare off into space, all the way to Montana. I cannot wait.


  1. FYI: I learned from Phyllis in Student Activities that maintenance and public safety take down fliers not stamped by SGA. Faculty and staff are allowed to post fliers without SGA approval, but we have no system in place to show that our fliers are permissible. Therefore, sometimes they get taken down. That could be one reason your fliers disappear.

  2. Thanks for that info, Christina. If I had the time and energy, I'd take a bunch of fliers to SGA to get them stamped. Ah well, maybe next year. Or maybe I'll write some sort of note on them: "Dear Public Safety and Maintenance Staff: I am a faculty member and am allowed to post fliers about my classes. Don't take these down." Of course, I'd have to write it in English and Spanish....

    I also realize I've been misspelling "fliers." Ah well. I'm just an English professor, after all.